Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page
DENVER — Pirates general manager Neal Huntington vowed last Sunday he would not trade too much of the Pirates' promising future for two months of upgrades in 2014.
General managers have to balance a club's long-term prospects along with today's opportunities at the trade deadline. But does Pirates manager Clint Hurdle share the same opinion? From the manager's seat, does he view opportunity differently? Is he pushing for more help to improve a team that entered Sunday four games behind Milwaukee in the division and a 1 1⁄2 games behind Atlanta for the final wild-card spot?
“I'm with Neal. The fact of the matter is (the front office) is much more educated on the level and quality of prospects than I am. There is a lot of trust involved,” Hurdle said. “You start talking about moving three or four prospects in your top 10, 15? That can get a little dicey. What can help now versus hamstring you later?”
Hurdle had a 20-minute, closed-door phone conversation with Huntington before Sunday's series finale in Colorado. Hurdle indicated there are a number of different scenarios being discussed before Thursday's trade deadline. Hurdle also noted it continues to be a seller's market, with so many teams in contention because of the second wild card and so few impact pieces available.
“We are very like-minded in understanding the industry, understanding supply versus demand,” Hurdle said. “As you go through scenarios we are revisiting now and you look at trades that have happened, every trade that happens dominoes into the next. (Teams) feel like they have a better player than the one traded. They need a bigger deal in the eyes of whoever it might be, ownership, public opinion.”
Hurdle noted that Huntington has been aggressive around the three previous trade deadlines. He acquired Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick in 2011, Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez in 2012 and Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd last season.
“I think if you look at our track record, (Huntington) has been aggressive and tried to find fits for the needs we've had over the last three times,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates have been linked to a number of starting pitchers and bullpen arms including, recently, Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller.
Does Hurdle have many needs on his wish list like he did a year ago?
“I think we are looking at a couple specific areas,” Hurdle said. “It could be the same number (of needs), just different areas.”
Marte's symptoms linger
Starling Marte still has concussion symptoms, and he might not be ready to return when he's eligible to come off the seven-day concussion DL on Wednesday.
The Pirates have missed Marte's bat against the Rockies' left-handed starters.
“We have to wait until he doesn't feel any more of the tension and pressure he has felt,” Hurdle said. “Until that happens, we'll have him continue to do some cardiovascular work.”
Polanco on struggles
Gregory Polanco was batting .137 against lefties this season, and his overall batting line had fallen to .247 entering Sunday. Polanco said every season contains ups and downs but he also said opponents have made adjustments.
“They are pitching different now,” Polanco said. “They throw a lot outside-inside, inside-outside, they don't throw right down the middle. … I'm just trying to stay with my approach.”
Alvarez back in lineup
Pedro Alvarez returned to the starting lineup against Rockies lefty Franklin Morales on Sunday. Alvarez had sat out the Pirates' past three games and the last three against left-handed starters.